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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thu 1 May 1834 1


    A man named Michael Carney was brought to town on Monday, committed by the Penrith Bench to take his trial for an abominable offence.

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Depositions for Michael Carney 12 May 1834 Sydney trial 2


In the fourth Year of the Reign of
Our Sovereign Lord William the Fourth,
by the Grace of God, of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,
King, Defender of the Faith.

New South Wales
(TO WIT)–         }

Be it Remembered, That John Kinchela, Esquire, Doctor of Laws, His Majesty’s Attorney General for the Colony of New South Wales, who prosecutes for His Majesty in this Behalf, being present in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, now here, on the first Day of May in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty four at Sydney, in the Colony aforesaid, informs the said Court, that Michael Carney [aka Cary; Kearney] late of Penrith in the Colony of New South Wales, Labourer –
on the seventeenth Day of April in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-four with Force and Arms, at the District of Evan in the Colony aforesaid, in and upon one Michael Minton in the Peace of God and of our said Lord the King then and there being feloniously did make an assault and then and there feloniously wickedly diabolically and against the order of nature had a venereal affair with the said Michael Minton and then and there carnally knew him the said Michael Minton and then and there


feloniously wickedly diabolically and against the order of nature with the said Michael Minton did commit and perpetrate the abominable that detestable and abominable crime of Buggery, not to be named among Christians, to the great displeasure of Almighty God and to the great scandal of all human kind against theform of the Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.
[Signed] John Kinchela, Attorney General.

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[On the reverse of the above (1-2) is the following]

51 Buggery
In the Supreme Court
The King against Michael Carney
Witnesses: Michael Minton, Richard Davis.
Monday May 12 1834 Burton J
Plea Not Guilty
Verdict Guilty
Death passed – execution arranged on Monday 19th.

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May 14th 1834 warrant issued for the execution of Michael Carney on Monday the 19th instant.
[Signed] John Gurner.

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Justice WW Burton’s Notebook 3


12th May 1834
Michael Carney
Buggery – On the 17th April 1834 upon Michael Minton.
Plea – NG


    Michael Minton

    Being first examined by me as to the nature & obligations of an oath – & (proved ?) (competent ?) –

    I am 10 yrs old going on for 11. I live at Mr MacCarthy’s on the Nepean – & the prisoner lived at the same place – I had to mind the cattle amongst the stalks where he was employed in cutting down the corn stalks – On a Thursday evening – the 17th of April – I went for him to assist me in pulling down the rails to let the cattle in – I had to go to him about 60 rods – I asked him Carney will you come & pull down the rails – he


said yes. He then ran after me. I ran away because he was going to do something to me. I was afraid of him – he said nothing to me. He did not run far before he caught me – he then knocked me down & put his hand on my mouth – I had only time to give one holloa – a boy Richard Davis was near me about 6 rods off – he was coming down to see what we were doing. He pulled down my trousers – & took out his private parts – & put it into my bottom, I felt him – he was doing it about 10 minutes. 4

    I did not holloa out more than once – he had his hand on my mouth all the time – when he had done I found my thighs were wet – I was crying


all this time.

    The prisoner was on his knees during the time – he held me between his legs – I just saw Davis when the prisoner was done – he came up to us, & then he went away down the corn stalks.

    By the prisoner: I did not tell of this the day it happened because I was afraid of getting beaten.

    It was not Davis told me to swear against the prisoner: I knew (about ?) it till I was told by Davis.

    This was about 6 rods from where the prisoner was working – & about 55 rods from where he pulled down the rail.

    By the Court: It was Davis who first told next day – he told Mr MacCarthy. I go to school, I know the day of the month because we are always asked it at school – I had been at school that day & had come home from school.


I came home about 3 o’clock & was then sent to mind the cattle – just as I put the cattle in this happened to me.

    Davis is a (Govt ?) boy – Mr MacCarthy asked me about it & I told him – I was sent for, at one or two o’clock.

    I sleep with one of Mr MacCarthy’s sons.


    Richard Davis

    I am a (Govt. ?) boy about 16 yrs of age – I have been in this country about 3 months assigned to Mr MacCarthy from the ship I came in – I know the boy Minton he lives at Mr MacCarthy’s. I know the prisoner – he is an assigned servant of Mr MacCarthy’s – he & I were very pleasant together – had no quarrel together – he was not much longer than a week from the bush – I recollect


seeing the prisoner & the boy together in the corn stalks – I was sent by the Master to cut down corn stalks: it was about ½ past 3 o’clock – only then went to cut them – I did not know that the prisoner was there before I went.

    I saw a hoe stuck in the ground alongside where some stalks were knocked down – so I suspected some one had been sent before me but I did not know who & I went down through the corn stalks to see if I could find him – they could not prevent me from seeing a person at a distance, there were not many at the place – I then (?) over & I saw the little boy down about 15 yds from where the hoe & cut stalks were, if I had looked about at first


    I did not see what state they were in – I observed the little boy scratch his (rear ?) as he went along: I could have seen them from there but I did not; the prisoner was along with the little boy.

    The little boy was on the ground & the prisoner had his privates out, he was kneeling down, the little boy’s face & hands were on the ground – he was lying down flat – the prisoner had a hand on his mouth – I was going towards them & the prisoner heard me & got up & looked round – they both buttoned up, when he got up they were unbuttoned before.

    I said I would bring him to Court – he said it was only play, the little boy said nothing.

    He held his head down, he was quite ashamed – he did not say the prisoner hurt him – not to my knowledge: He told me afterwards in the hut & in the (field ?) both, that he did not care if he were hanged or not: as soon as


he began his work again: two or three minutes afterwards. I went away shortly after – it was very near sun set down – the little boy went to put in the cattle – into a small paddock for the night. I told the little boy’s sister who is about 12 yrs of age just after I came home with the cattle.

    He was present: I saw the Master before that – I told the little boy I would tell – & he denied to me that the prisoner did anything to him.

    I heard the little boy give a holloa – before I came up – I took notice of his eyes being very dull – I don’t know when he was crying, there were tears – I pretended I would go & tell Mr MacCarthy & then heacknowledged it.

    Mr MacCarthy is here – next day I told his son –


I intended to let it pass but I could not sleep all night – I felt very uneasy about it.

    Three other men & the prisoner slept in the hut – I told them all before the prisoner – & he said he did not care if he were hanged, he would do the same to myself. He said that to before John Burke.

    By the Prisoner: I was about 3 yards off when I saw the prisoner with the boy – I saw his privates when he turned round.

    I was going to let it pass, but I thought it a sin to let it pass. I told it before all the people in the hut.

    Two or three went out in the (?) to get wood, & there was only Burke in the hut when the prisoner made me the answer.

    Where it happened was about


3 or 4 yards from the fence where prisoner had let down the rail – the length of the corn field was about 22 rods.


    James MacCarthy

    He asked me not to take him – it was a shameful act. I told him I could not do so: The prisoner & the boy Davis are my assigned servants – Minton I have reared.

    On a Friday – I believe my son reported the circumstances to me, it had been done the day before.

    The prisoner said the boy was making fun of him – that they were making up a story.

    I told him after he got out of one trouble he had got into another.

    I told him it was about the boy – he said the boys had made it up amongst themselves, he was not guilty – he always denied it to me – I sent for the little boy home from school.


    By a Juryman: The boy Davis had been with me about 3 weeks at that time – assigned from the ship – never punished in (my ?) (employ ?).

    The little boy is a very good little boy, I never found him out in any error since he was with me – I am not aware of any malice or ill feeling.

    Dr Black examined the boy’s person the day after – not the prisoner to my knowledge.


    Minton recalled

    I felt sore – it was large – hard – warm – white & wet – upon his private parts –

Verdict Guilty –
Sentence of Death passed – and execution ordered on Monday next.

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The Australian, Tue 13 May 1834 5

Judge Burton, n.d. Image: NSW State Library collection. Reproduction: Peter de Waal
Judge Burton, n.d. Image: NSW State Library
collection. Reproduction: Peter de Waal


    MONDAY.– [12 May 1834] Before Judge Burton and a Civil Jury.

    Michael Cary was indicted for an unnatural offence. Guilty. The prisoner was then called up for judgment. The learned Judge, in passing sentence upon him, observed, that he had been satisfactorily convicted, and no doubt could rest upon the mind of any man who had heard the trial, that he was guilty. He had been convicted of an offence that all laws, human and divine, punished with death. If there was any relief to a frail human being like himself, when passing the extreme penalty upon a prisoner, it was when the human followed the divine law. Since the creation his offence had been punished with death. Who’e [sic] nations had been rooted out of the earth for the like offence, which had arrived at such a height, that the Almighty considered it necessary to sweep them from the face of the creation. It would be by the blessing of God if the boy of such tender age on whom he had committed the offence, recovered from the infamous lesson he had taught him.The sentence of the Court was, that he should be hung at the usual place of execution, on Monday next, and that the boy who had witnessed the transaction, and the one on whom he had committed the offence, should be present at the time. The prisoner as he left the bar, said he had no objection to die, he should obtain justice in another world.

    Judge Burton – God grant it.

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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tue 13 May 1834 6

MONDAY, 12 May [1834]
(Before Judge Burton and a Jury of Civilians.)

    Michael Carney was convicted of an abominable offence committed on a boy named Michael Minton, of the tender age of ten years, on the 17th of April last [1834]. The prisoner was found Guilty on the clearest evidence, and after a most impressive exhortation from the Judge, was (no hope of mercy being expressed to him) sentenced to be executed on Monday morning next. His Honor also directed that the prosecutor and a boy named Owen [sic–Richard] Davis, the only material witnesses in the case, – should be present at the execution.

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Enclosure W to NSW Executive Council Minute No. 12 1834 7


Case of Michael Carney, May 12, 1834 (Judge Burton’s Report)


Enclosure W to Minute No. 12 – 1834
Case of Michael Carney
May 12th 1834 (Judge Burton’s Report)

    The Prisoner Michael Carney was an assigned Servant of James Macarthy, who resides on the Nepean River.

    The offence of which he was found guilty was perpetrated by him, on the person of free Boy of the age between ten and eleven years of age named Michael Minton, under the guardianship of Macarthy, and the boy’s evidence shewed [sic] the offence to have been completely accomplished, there was also a corroboration of his story, in the evidence of another lad Richard Davis, aged 16 Years, an assigned Servant of Macarthy’s, who came accidentally to the spot where the Prisoner and the Boy were, at the period of its accomplishment, and witnessed enough


to shew [sic] that some obscene act had been committed between them. Under these circumstances I considered it to be my Duty to pass sentence of Death upon the Prisoner to be executed on Monday the 19th instant.

(Signed) WW Burton

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NSW Executive Council Minute, 13 May 1834 8

Minute No. 12

Council Chambers
Tuesday 13th May 1834

    His Excellency the Governor [Richard Bourke KCB]
    The Hon Lieut Col [ Kenneth] Snodgrass [The Senior officer of HM Land Forces]
    The Hon the Colonial Secretary [Alexander MacLeay]
    The Hon the Colonial Treasurer [Campbell Drummond Riddell]

    The Council having met pursuant to summons the minutes of proceedings at the last meeting was read and confirmed

    1 – His Excellency the Governor then laid before the Council the Report [see Enclosure above] of His Honor Mr Justice Burton of the case of Michael Carney, convicted of the crime of ‘Buggery’ at the present criminal sessions of the Supreme Court, and sentenced to suffer death.

    Mr Justice Burton having been introduced explained to the Council the circumstances of the case and the Council having attentively and maturely considered the same, advised that the sentence of the case should be allowed to take its course.

The Council then adjourned sine die
[Signed] E Deas Thomson, Clerk of the Council

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The Australian, Tue 20 May 1834 9

    EXECUTION.– Yesterday [Monday 19 May] morning, Michael Carney convicted of an unnatural offence, expiated his crime on the scaffold in the yard of Sydney Gaol.

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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tue 20 May 1834 10

    EXECUTION.– Michael Carey, convicted of an unnatural offence, underwent the extreme penalty of the law in the Gaol yard, yesterday, at nine o’clock. He was attended in his devotions by the Rev Mr McEnroe. His behaviour was resolute to the last, and few present never remember having seen a man exhibit more apparent indifference on so dreadful an occasion. The two boys ordered by the Judge to be present at the Execution were nothing moved by the terrific end of their companion. The elder of the boys evinced more shame than his little companion, who seemed quite unconscious of the horrid offence for which Carey forfeited his existence. When the devotions were ended, he addressed the crowd, protesting to the Almighty God of his innocence—admitting himself to have been guilty of henious [sic] crimes, but innocent of the present. The drop fell and he was launched into eternity.


1     The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thu 1 May 1834, p. 2.

2     SRNSW: NRS880, [SC T37] Information No. 51, Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, 1834.

3     SRNSW: NRS5730, [2/2415] Judiciary, WW Burton, J. Notebooks Criminal Sessions, 1833-38, pp. 92-101. Emphasis added.

4     Mn: I am quite sure he put it inside of my body

5     The Australian, Tue 13 May 1834, p. 3.

6     The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tue 13 May 1834, p. 3.

7     SRNSW: NRS4234, [4/1443], Executive Council, Appendices to minutes, 1825-48, pp. 205-7.

8     SRNSW: NRS4232, [4/1518], Executive Council, Minute books, Minute 12, 13 May 1834, R2436.

9     The Australian, Tue 20 May 1834, p. 3.

10   The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tue 20 May 1834, p. 2.